01.28.21

“Piecemeal Green New Deal” Putting Ideology Ahead of Working Americans

‘This piecemeal Green New Deal is the wrong prescription -- for the environment… for national security… and most of all for all the working Americans who will soon be formerly-working Americans if this keeps up.’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks today on the Senate floor regarding energy policy and protecting jobs:

“The country’s waited to see whether the new Administration would follow a pro-job, pro-worker, pro-working-family approach... or give in to the far left and put ideological concerns before kitchen-table ones.

“Unfortunately, we haven’t had to wait long.

“As recently as October, now-President Biden said ‘you can’t [legislate] by executive action unless you’re a dictator.’ In one week, he’s signed more than 30 unilateral actions. And working Americans are getting short shrift. 

“The President abruptly cancelled the Keystone pipeline — a massive setback for energy security in North America. A Canadian leader called it ‘a gut punch.’ I imagine the 11,000 American workers including 8,000 union workers who were counting on that work feel the same.

“We’ve headed back into an international pact that would have us self-inflict serious pain on working families, has failed to curb China’s emissions, and without which our own emissions have been dropping anyway.

“And yesterday, the Administration slammed the brakes on further domestic energy development on the huge swaths of land owned by the federal government. No new oil, gas, or coal leases on federal land.

“Our responsible use of these lands accounts for more than a fifth of our domestic production. About 2.8 million barrels per day. That is almost the equivalent of Kuwait’s daily oil production from our federal lands alone. Plus more than 10% of domestic natural gas.

“2019 marked the first time in nearly 70 years when U.S. energy exports outpaced imports. For the first time since the 1950s our nation ran an energy surplus, not a deficit.

“That’s been great news. But some left-wing elites are not happy. The sources of this affordable domestic energy are not sufficiently trendy. 

“As John Kerry explained yesterday on behalf of the Administration, he wants the huge numbers of American workers in these sectors to find, quote, ‘better choices.’

“Better choices than their good jobs that feed their families and strengthen our independence.

“Remember, with the pipeline cancellation, the President effectively closed the door on thousands of American jobs with the stroke of his pen. According to one news report, one welder from Pipeliners Local 798 who’d been working in Nebraska says he’s already had to lay off his whole team before losing his job himself. He said he sat down in his truck and simply cried. 

“This latest new prohibition will replicate that heartbreak many times over. According to one study, the decision on federal lands will leave us down nearly 1 million American jobs by next year alone.

“It’s a heck of a way to kick off a presidency: Mass layoffs of our own citizens. Working Americans in other sectors will pay as well. One analysis found this decision could increase household energy costs by almost $20 billion over the next decade.

“And President Biden, John Kerry, and the whole gang appear to just be getting warmed up.

***

“Mr. Kerry admitted yesterday that even if the United States somehow brought our carbon emissions to zero, it wouldn’t make much difference in the global picture.

“That’s because our competitors, including China, have already gone roaring past us.

“But there is one kind of cooling these policies will achieve: They’ll ice the job market in communities across America.

“In the state of New Mexico, 65% of oil and gas production is tied to federal lands. By one estimate, 16,000 jobs will be on the chopping block in that state alone next year if President Biden’s ban holds.

“In Colorado, it would cost another 3,000 jobs and more than 40% of the state’s natural gas production.

“As a Kentuckian, I’m all too familiar with the ways these Democratic policies can hurt communities. 

“Kentucky paid dearly for the first round of these liberal policies under President Obama. We have no desire to be subjected to a sequel. Especially when Mr. Kerry says we should take the rate at which coal is already declining and quintuple it. 

“In her confirmation hearing yesterday, the President’s nominee to be Energy Secretary referenced, quote, ‘jobs that might be sacrificed.’

“Well, points for honesty. That’s what happened the last time these folks called the shots. Jobs were sacrificed. Including, ultimately, some of the jobs of the Democratic politicians who backed these policies. 

***

“There’s a concept in sports that a coach or a manager should never make a decision that will make the opposing team happy.

“If they’re torn about a risky play call, if they’re overthinking a pitching change, they should ask themself which decision their opponents would rather see -- and do the opposite.

“Our new Administration is failing that test on domestic energy.

“China, Russia, and our other competitors must be thrilled that our new government is essentially declaring war on some of our own economic foundations to satisfy a craving for symbolic gestures.

“Willfully throwing our own people out of work… reducing our domestic energy security… raising costs and prices for working families… 

“All for no meaningful impact on global temperatures. Just to buy applause at those international conferences where the participants all assemble by private jet.

***

“It shouldn’t be this way. Not with a president who campaigned on protecting the lunch-pail union jobs that his left flank wants to eliminate.

“This President was not elected to enact policies that prompt a certain young Congresswoman from New York City to boast online that her radical ideas are shaping his energy policies. 

“The last four years proved that growing our prosperity, reducing emissions, and expanding domestic energy are not in tension. We can achieve all three.

“There’s nothing green about a tsunami of pink slips for American workers, or carting Canadian crude around in trucks and trains instead of a pipeline. 

“This piecemeal Green New Deal is the wrong prescription -- for the environment… for national security… and most of all for all the working Americans who will soon be formerly-working Americans if this keeps up.”

Related Issues: Middle Class, Jobs, Keystone XL Pipeline, Energy